These are two "e;comic"e; plays originally produced 2000 years apart. Wasps was written by Aristophanes in 422BC in the city-state of Athens, and Suitors as "e;Les Plaideurs"e; in 1669 in Paris. Suitors, or "e;The Litigants"e; as it is often translated, was loosely based on The Wasps. The two are often compared, but not as easily as they can be now. The Wasps is a highly politicised rant that was highly satirical, and brutal to those at the sharp end of Aristophanes wit. Racine's play is by contrast gentle farce, though it did make a side swipe at his contemporary and sometime rival Moliere, and at the legal establishment of his day. This was Racine's only attempt at the comic, as opposed to the tragic form of neoclassical plays. I these versions, both plays have moved some distance from the original. Racine's is here written in English prose, rather than in French poetic couplets. This has been to make the play into more of a general read, and to help adaptation to modern English theatre. I have tried to keep accurately to the meaning of each speech, and particularly to the overall story. While my version is studious it isn't "e;academic"e;. These are absolutely not replacements for the serious study of the originals, though they are certainly useful as reference points for all but the most Ancient Greek and French "e;language-gifted"e; English scholars. Aristophanes play was adapted without any but the most superficial of references to the Greek, but rather though reference to a number of translations. The play was also reorganised structurally, into the neoclassical form, in order to make comparison between the two easier. Certainly this interpretation is of a more than sufficient nature to provide a good understanding of the relationship between the two plays. Both these adaptations give good historical glimpses into life in their times. This is especially true of Aristophanes' work. Much of our surprisingly rounded historic understanding of his period comes from this play and others. There are certainly many periods of more modern history about which we know very much less, particularly when it comes to the workings of everyday society.
Suitors & Wasps
Education & Reference